Some of our nation’s most underrated travel destinations are its small towns, places with fewer than 30,000 people where life moves a little bit slower, people tend to be friendlier and mom-and-pop establishments help keep things local.
We set out to find the best small towns in the United States – the best coastal and historic small towns, and the best small towns for eating, shopping, culture or outdoor adventure. To do so, we asked our readers to vote for their favorites and the results were in.
Best Coastal Small Town: Sandusky, Ohio
Located midway between Cleveland and Toledo, Sandusky is one of Ohio’s best lakeside escapes. Visitors will find a revitalized downtown district with plenty of shopping and dining options, recreation on Lake Erie, wine tasting and some of the world’s best roller coasters at Cedar Point.
Best Historic Small Town: Granbury, Texas
The charming town of Granbury makes frequent appearances on “best small town” lists, and it’s easy to see why. The town’s historic square, lined by historic landmarks, makes for excellent shopping, and there are plenty of mom n’ pop restaurants to choose from when it comes time to refuel. The beach at Lake Granbury offers a way to cool off on those hot Texas afternoons, and there’s even a family-friendly boardwalk.
Best Small Town Cultural Scene: Doylestown, Pennsylvania
This Pennsylvania town is home to the Doylestown Cultural District, where visitors will find both the Mercer Museum and James A. Michener Art Museum – home to a collection of Pennsylvania impressionist works – within steps of Main Street. The art deco County Theater, built in the 1930s, still screens movies.